Consumers and Information Workers today are increasingly being characterized as tech-savvy and self-empowered. Gone are the days when devices like computers and smart phones exclusively belonged to the Information Technology departments arsenal in big corporate houses. Today, a typical employee owns an assortment of laptops, smart phones, tablets and PCs which are far more advanced than what most IT departments can offer.
A pertinent buzzword engendered amidst this novel era of mass consumerism is BYOD i.e Bring Your Own Device. Surely it is a phenomenon which is not everyone’s cup of tea, but definitely worth knowing and forming an opinion about. So let’s start by deciphering the buzzword.
Definition: BYOD describes an environment in which employees, business partners and other users use personally selected and purchased client devices laptops, smart phones, tablets, and even desktop PCs to access corporate networks & data and execute enterprise applications. For most organizations, the program is currently limited to smart phones and tablets, but the strategy may also be used for PCs and may include subsidies for equipment or service fees. In a BYOD approach, users are permitted certain access rights to enterprise applications and information on personally owned devices, subject to user acceptance of enterprise security and management policies. The device is selected and purchased by the user, although IT may provide a list of acceptable devices for the user to purchase. In turn, IT provides partial or full support for device access, applications and data. The organization may provide full, partial or no reimbursement for the device or service plan.
Benefits: Undeniably convincing! Ranging from improved productivity and employee retention, to enhanced mobility, a more flexible work environment and improved IT value to the business. BYOD facilitates virtual work environments that provide individual workers the flexibility of work timings and location.
The ultimate objective: Curtailing operating costs
So, the million dollar question here is whether Indian companies are ready to embrace BYOD? Purchasing your own devise, working on the go or from home, work as per your personal daily itinerary, and other myriad of luxuries, all you need is just an internet connection! Sounds fun, right? Not yet, as astounding this phenomenon sounds, it comes with a series of bottlenecks.
Considerable investment in security is required to preempt potential data breaches and leakage through mechanisms such as malware which calls for the right level of technical support and enforcement of policies among users. Transitioning to a device-agnostic infrastructure requires new skills on the part of network engineers and security teams. Employees who participate in a BYOD program should be required to sign binding agreements before being allowed to access resources using a personal device and one particularly vitriolic issue can arise if an organization initiates a legal hold against a BYOD user and IT is required to temporarily confiscate the device to capture its state and data.
While BYOD programs can reduce costs, they typically do not. As businesses look to drive ever more capability to the mobile device, the costs of software, infrastructure, personnel support and related services will increase over time. Once companies start including file sharing, business applications and collaboration tools, the costs to provide mobile services spiral up dramatically.
The road to achieving a fool proof BYOD setup is long but not endless; with right policy initiatives one can actually reap the benefits of BYOD. To my belief, though the transition period will be long and challenging for Indian corporate sector, still, as we had demonstrated our expertise in ICT space in the past, we will be able to pull through the same exemplary performance for capitalizing on BYOD too.